Legal battle for the parole of the “monster of Amstetten”: the Vienna Supreme Court will review the sentence

Josef Fritzl arrives escorted by police at the court in St. Poelten, Austria, on March 19, 2009. Fritzl held his daughter hostage for 24 years and had seven children with her. (AP Photo/Robert Jaeger, Pool, File) (Robert Jaeger/)

The Austrian Prosecutor’s Office has filed an appeal against the court decision that Josef Fritzl, convicted in 2009 of imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years, leave the center for mentally ill offenders and continue serving his life sentence in a conventional prison.

The release on conditional release from that special center and his transfer to prison, decided on January 25, will now have to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the Vienna region.

In 1984, Fritzl locked his daughter Elisabeth, then 18, in a cellar in the basement of the family home in Amstetten, west of Vienna, where his wife and six other children also lived.

At that time he explained the disappearance of the young woman in that she had run away to join a sect.

Place where Josef Fritzl kept his daughter captive.  Europa Press/Contact/p97
Place where Josef Fritzl kept his daughter captive. Europa Press/Contact/p97 (Europa Press/Contact/p97/)

For almost a quarter of a century he systematically raped her, and from these attacks seven children were born, one of whom died shortly after birth when Fritzl did not agree to receive medical help.

Elisabeth’s wife and brothers assured, after the case was uncovered in 2008, that they never realized anything.

Three other of his children-grandchildren were adopted by Fritzl, who pretended that the minors had appeared at the door of his house abandoned by Elisabeth.

Meanwhile, the other three and Elisabeth remained locked in the basement until the case was uncovered in 2008.

Joseph Fritzl
Austrian Josef Fritzl is escorted back to prison after his hearing at the regional court in Krems an der Donau, Austria, on January 25, 2024. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP) (JOE KLAMAR/)

The transition to Fritzl’s conventional prisonwho changed his last name to Mayrhoff after being convicted, was limited to ten years and conditioned on him undergoing regular psychiatric treatment.

The convicted man will turn 89 in April and suffers from senile dementia.

The three-judge court that made the decision took into account a psychiatric report that indicated that, due to the man’s state of health, the conditions no longer exist to keep him in the center for criminals with mental problems, a place with special security measures. security.

The Vienna Supreme Court has already rejected sending the so-called ‘Amstetten monster’ to a conventional prison in the past.

Josef Fritzl at his trial.  AP
Josef Fritzl at his trial. AP

The convicted man’s defense has requested his conditional release, arguing that he no longer represents any danger to society and because he has spent more than 15 years in prison.

Fritzl was convicted of the crimes of murder by omission of help, slavery, deprivation of liberty, rape, incest and aggravated coercion.

(with information from EFE)